Living full time in a motorhome

We are often asked what it is like living in a motorhome and when are we going to finish traveling and get a “real” house.  The following is an attempt to answer some of those questions  (with some ideas and inspiration from the latest NZ American RV newsletter).

1. This is not Camping

Our version of full-time RV’ing is not camping… it’s living. In other words, we don’t consider our lives to be one big camping trip. We don’t eat at Maccas or RSA’s every night, nor do we eat dehydrated instant packet food, nor do we sit around the picnic table playing boardgames by lantern/torchlight. Yes, we stay in a camp ground occasionally, but for the most part we are not camping.

2. We do Laundry

When I lived in a house, I felt like I was always doing laundry. A load of towels, whites the next, clothing separated into dark and light for more loads.  It was a never ending cycle that I couldn’t seem to break. That is, until I moved into an RV with a small washing machine on board. Now I do laundry a couple of times a week. And it doesn’t take long.  I sometimes even use a laundromat, or utilise friends and family large washing machine for when I have big stuff to do (thanks!).  And I have finally given up ironing everything in sight, yes folks, you read it here first, I no longer iron my sheets or tea towels!!! 

3.  I will choose my tiny house, over your guest bedroom

When we visit or park in your driveway (which we appreciate greatly by the way) chances are we’ll say thanks but no thanks when you offer up your guest room. You see, the thing is that we like our tiny house with our cosy bed, favourite pillow, all our clothes within reach and the bathroom a few steps away from our bed. We travel in a motorhome because we enjoy the convenience of always having our house with us. So it’s not that we don’t appreciate the offer, but we really would prefer to sleep in our own bed. However, I will take you up on that offer to use your shower though!
4.  This is not a permanent holiday

This is a hard one for non full-timers to grasp. So you live in an RV and you get to travel to any cool place you want, yet you don’t consider yourself to be on holiday? Nope, not at all.  I think you can only function in ‘holiday’ mode for so long. At some point you have to create a normal routine with down time and off days. For us full time RV’ing is a lifestyle choice, not a permanent holiday, we choose where we want to go and when and what we want to do.

5.  I Sometimes Forget That I’m Not “Normal”.

I sometimes forget that our lifestyle is considered out of the ordinary. Especially if we’ve been spending time with other full time RV’ers who view living in a tiny house on wheels as commonplace. It usually takes an encounter with the “normal” folks to remind me that how we live is fascinating and envy-worthy.
6. I Have No Idea When I Will “Be Done”.

We get asked this a lot and I’m always tempted to reply, done with what? Done with a lifestyle that brings me joy? Done with expanding my horizons and becoming a more well rounded person? Done with meeting incredible people and making lifelong connections and friendships? Why would I want to be done with all that? The short answer is that I have no idea when I will be done, and I enjoy not knowing. There is something very appealing about a future that is open to endless possibilities. I’m confident that when we get the urge to settle in one spot, we will know when the time is right. But for now we will continue to roll down the road with no plans to “be done” any time soon 
7.  We will never see everything

We could travel around in this beautiful country of ours for many more years and still not see everything. In the beginning we enjoyed keeping track of where we had visited and making sure we checked off all the major attractions along the way. At some point we realised that it didn’t matter how many things were checked off the list, we would always be adding more. And I love that! I love discovering more things to do, see, and explore than I could possibly hope to accomplish in any amount of time. I love that our country is incredibly diverse and filled with such an array of landscapes, communities, and people that even if I travelled for decades, I could never see everything.  Besides, life isn’t about checking off lists…….. is it?

8.  Technology

Yes, we have the technology!  Not only do we have satellite TV (actually two Tv’s – one in the living area and one in the bedroom), we have a wireless router that connects us to the Internet – note to Telco’s; give us better, more and cheaper data!  We have PC’s as well as iPads, we have a large extensive library of books and movies (mostly in electronic format), we listen to podcasts on MP3 players with headphones,  we run a business from our home which has an office and yes we even have a full printer/copier/scanner.  We generate our own power from solar panels with a back up generator for when the sun doesn’t shine. We have a large bank of batteries to store all our power which we run through an inverter to give us 230v.

9.  We have a chefs kitchen!

You name it, we have it…full oven, fridge and freezer, cake mixer, blender, stick blender, wok, casserole dishes, risotto pan, brûlée torch, baking tins of all shapes and sizes, dariole molds, thermometers, meat slicer, vacuum sealer, banettons, microplanes, and a myriad of other essential gadgets like a spurtle (to stir porridge), and a special cutter to take the top off a boiled egg,  as well as knives, knives and more knives of every shape and size imaginable,   I mean, who else has two ham knives! We have a cold smoker and a hot smoker, we make our own; bacon and pastrami, sourdough bread, jams preserves and pickles, baking, and anything else you can think of.  

10.  If we won lotto…

We  get asked this often as well,”if you won Lotto, what would you do to live your dream?”  Our response is; we are living our  dream, what are you waiting for?  Sure,  a bit more cash would be very nice, but our basic lifestyle would not change much at all. Now let us just win Lotto and we’ll test out this theory!!!

So that’s it in nutshell, I hope that has answered any questions you may have had, if not, feel free to ask!

10 Responses to “Living full time in a motorhome”

  1. Alex Says:

    My question is when are you bringing the van to the UK?!!?! xx

  2. Katrina Says:

    Tonight I stumbled across your blog. Lucky me. What a great blog!
    We (hubby and I), are resigning from our jobs at the end of this year to live full time in our fifth wheeler. We have this year to sort out storage and organise our rig for full time living. Reading about your adventures has been both inspiring and motivating. We swing between being extremly excited to feeling apprehensive, but I guess that is part of the process 🙂

    Thanks for accepting our subscription to your blog. We are looikng forward to sharing your adventures through reading your posts.

  3. Tip Tipene Says:

    Great reading for someone researching pros and cons of living in a motor home full-time thanx

  4. Tom and Lynn Martin Says:

    Awesome guys Hope to catch up with you some time on travels We are starting out August 2017

  5. PeterNZ Says:

    This is one of my favorite entries in your blog which I read regularly. Now I am rolling around that thought in my head computer to go on the road myself. What I wonder about is the financials. How much does your lifestyle cost? No you don’t need to publish your financial situation but do you have any sources which might help to come up with some sort of budget? That would be great


    Peter (The guy who sold you the bannetons)

    • Bernice Vannini Says:

      Hi Peter, hope you are well.
      Finances are a tricky one as it all has so many variables I.e. how much actually travelling you do each week for fuel costs, wether you free camp or choose to stay in camp grounds, insurances, your initial set up costs of course including ability to be self sufficient in power etc. Then there are the everyday living costs of food, wine 😉, and activities you choose to partake in. Internet access is another consideration, then there is always the annual cof/wof, registration, membership fees for NZMCA, DoC passes etc, R&M. Medical expenses can be an issue for some.
      As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch!

  6. Susan Black Says:

    This is very helpful as my partner and I are in the process of deciding whether to buy a motor home and live in it permanently. This would mean we sell our house. If we do this there is no going back as we would not have enough finances to buy another. Has anyone else done this. Cheers Sue

    • Bernice Vannini Says:

      Of course many many people have done this. It’s all about what you are comfortable with, your expectations, and the ability to deal with the what if’s in life.

  7. Kim Says:

    For a lot of things in life you need a permanent address, a bancaccount for instance. How did you fix this? Thanks. Kim

    • rkvannini Says:

      There are options: there is a mail holding company called which gives you a physical address, opens and scans mail to you to deal with. Use a relatives address. Use a P.O. Box if you can access it regularly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: